Norwegian companies Yara International and Kongsberg Maritime have entered into an agreement to jointly develop and build the world’s first autonomous cargo ship. According to AFP, the new container ship will be named Yara Birkelan and will be used to transport fertilizers between three ports in southern Norway. Yara International is engaged in the production and supply of fertilizers. The company currently uses trucks or leased cargo ships for transportation. The new container ship, according to the company, will allow it to accelerate the transportation of fertilizers and to abandon about 40 thousand truck trips per year.
The new freighter will be fully electric. It will be able to reach speeds of up to 15 knots and carry about a hundred standard sea freight containers (length 6.1 meters, height 2.6 meters, width 2.4 meters). The range of the Yary Birkelan will be about 65 nautical miles. Other details about the promising vessel were not specified.
The construction of the new vessel is expected to be completed in 2018. At the same time, it will carry out the first transport of fertilizers. Until the end of 2018, the container ship will be operated by the crew, but in 2019 the vessel will be transferred to remote control. The container ship will start moving fully autonomously in 2020.
In 2014, the Blue Ocean division of the British company Rolls-Royce took over the development of its own autonomous container ship. The new vessel is expected to lose its captain’s bridge, crew accommodation, water distribution, sewerage and air conditioning systems, and power supply equipment.
The new vessel is expected to be five percent lighter than a conventional container ship of comparable dimensions. The new cargo ship will consume 12-15 percent less fuel, but will be able to carry more cargo by freeing up additional space.